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Copyright N? '■ .' ■ 


En Repos and Elsewhere Over There 




With a Preface by 
Major A, Piatt Andrew 




Published November jqiS 


DtC -4 1918 








The verses here collected *'need no bush." They evidence what 
they are — the reflections, now playful, now serious, of typical 
American youth upon the surroundings of life on the French 
Front. They were written hy two members of one of the many 
volunteer ambulance sections of the American Field Service, 
who came to this organization from Leland Stanford Univer- 
sity and who served in and with the French Army long before 
American troops were operating in France. Subsequently the 
sections of the American Field Service were adopted by the 
American Army, though left to serve with the French divisions, 
and the authors of these verses, along with many hundred 
other former volunteers, were enlisted as American soldiers. 

Most of these verses were printed originally in the ^^ Amer- 
ican Field Service Bulletin," a small weekly published kin 
France by volunteers of the Field Service for their own and 
their comrades' amusement. Not having been written for 
readers at home, but for the severely critical and somewhat 
blase eyes of comrades, they contain few allusions to shot and 
shell, and the thrills and horrors of war. Journalists and 
novelists, writing for the home marled, have naturally selected 
for description only the dramatic and heroic aspects of the 
war and have frequently conveyed an impression of life at the 
Front which, even though literally true of special times and 
places, is by no means representative of the normal experi- 
ences. The circumstances under which these verses were 
written are such as to give them a kind of documental value as 
true exhibits of a soldier's life and thoughts. They show, what 
the public seldom realizes, that the military drama includes 
only brief moments of intense and tragic action where heroism 
and valor are displayed, but that it consists mostly of inter- 



minable entr'actes in which much more commonplace virtues 
are called upon to play their pari — - such virtues as patience, 
selj-control, cheerfulness, and a sense of humor. 

" This war icould he extremely drear 
If vje had not long »ince begun 
To view events that happen here 
Transfigured by our sense of fun." 

They show, too, beneath the light-heartedness that jests at 
everything — the light-heartedness typical of healthy-minded 
youth the world over, and fortunately as typical of our Amer- 
ican soldiers as of the soldiers of France — the keen desire to 
voice the solemn meaning of this war, the meaning which, 
though often unexpressed, lies deeply rooted in the conscious- 
ness of all our troops. 

** Come, come, Bard, from out some unknovm place. 
Come and record, in songs and words of fire. 
The noble deaths, the struggles of the race. 
The fight to check an Emperor's desire I 
Come, strike thy harp; the force of man is hurled; — 
Give us an Iliad of the Western World 1" 

Beneath an obvious contempt for rhetoric and heroics, 
which is equally characteristic of the soldier, is also revealed 
that love and admiration for France which grows every day 
more strong among all Americans who have had the privilege 
of knowing the soldiers and people of France during these 
prodigious years. 

" You may take your men in khaki, 

Yo7ir men in brown and grey. 
They We first-class fighting soldiers — 

They 'II prove it any day ! 
We 'II honor every one of them 

For all that they've been through. 
But you 'II have to give the laurels 

To the Overcoats of Blue I 

*'0h, the Overcoats of Blue! The Overcoats of Blue! 
They're the finest fighting soldiers, are the Overcoats of Blue I** 



The romance and splendor of France's history, the unfailing 
idealism and unfaltering will of her people, the democracy, 
the comradeship, and above all the unvaunting but indomitable 
courage of her troops, have kindled something akin to venera- 
tion in the hearts of our soldiers. And every American sol- 
dier who has seen with his eyes the suffering so wantonly and 
brutally inflicted upon this gentle country by the Huns has 
also felt with Jeanne d'Arc something of that ^^grande pitiS 
qu'il y avail au pays de France." 

*' Oh, it is n't in words that we show it, — 

They're too feeble to tell what we feel; 
It 's down in our hearts that we know it. 

It 's down in our souls that it 's real. 
So we stick to our work as we find it. 

And forget the caprices of Chance, 
For we know that the price of the big sacrifice 

Is little enough — for France!" 


France, July, 1918 


Preface by Major A. Piatt Andrew vii 

Introducing "En Repos and Elsewhere" . . . . xv 


i^ En Repos S 

^ A Duffer's Duffle . .6 

/Brancardiers .7 

/Convoy 10 

^yCoMPRENDS Pas ! . .12 

^ Post-Mortems 14 

"System D" 17 

Song of the Messengers of Mercy 19 

We Wish It Would 22 

♦Communiques 24 

^Around Our Stove 26 

•/Cavh Abris 28 

>Mnd Winter's Coming ! . 30 

The War — Encore! 31 

»^Henry on the Grande Route ....... 33 

QuAND la Guerre sera finie 36 




Epic Years 41 

War's Absolution 42 

Five Miles behind the Lines 43 

^ Chajmpagne Hills 44 

Down along the Aisne 45 

On the Oise, 1918 47 

On Passing through Amiens, JVLvy, 1918 . . . .48 

The Guns ! 49 

The Star-Shell Flare 51 


^ Camouflage All ! b^ 

(/C'est ca 57 

V Civil Life 59 

/C'est Defendu 61 

The Song of the Casualty List 63 

•Hand Grenades 65 

A Really Quiet Day 67 

•^ War's Annoyances 69 

The Poilus 72 

Our Sense of Fun 75 

Northward Ho ! 77 

/ **Capout" 79 

^ Allies 81 

The EmbusquI: in Peace and War 83 



Aviation 85 

^To Fritz 86 

"La Belle Musique" 88 

The Soldier's Creed 90 

Permission! 92 

Overcoats of Blue .94 

For France To-Day ! 96 

^^oujouRS LA France ! 97 

Envoi 99 

Compendium of Foreign Phrases 101 


When an American starts for France he usually leaves home 
and hope at the same time. He has visions of a feverish, dash- 
ing existence under a continual rain of projectiles, machine- 
gun bullets, poison-gas, and high explosives. He expects to 
spend most of the time advancing or retreating or rushing on 
to Berlin, and between charges he expects to occupy his leisure 
moments extricating himself from barbed-wire entanglements, 
picking fleas from his garments, and exploring by night the 
wastes of No Man's Land, knee-deep in mud and gore. He 
expects to do his reading and letter-writing {if indeed he 
should ever do either) on the firing-step of a front-line trench 
by the intermittent light of star-shells and gun-flashes. 

But if the realities of the Front in any degree approached 
one's preconceived ideas of its perils, the armies of both sides 
would long ago have been annihilated to a man, and the poli- 
ticians alone would have been left to bicker over the boundaries 
of unpopulated states. 

After a short sojourn in the war zone, the soldier comes to 
the realization that a good part of the time not only is there 
scarcely any element of danger, but also scarcely any element 
of interest. And presently he learns the meaning of *'en 
repos.'* He finds that he must spend anywhere from half to 
three quarters of his valuable time ^* resting'' in some half- 
forgotten village in the rear. Sometimes, after a trick in the 
line when something has '*been doing," this ^^repos" is very 
grateful. But it is soon made plain to the soldier that he is 
supposed to rest whether he is tired or not, and often "repos'* 



becomes more fatiguing^ menially at Icasty than the more 
strenuous duties of active service. 

The reason for this is the more or less limited opportunity 
for diversion that '^repos*' affords. In the first place, there is 
worky which is sometimes quite baldly invented for the purpose 
of keeping him occupied. Or he can walk, the extent of his 
perambulations being usually confined to the ^^ limit of the 
cantonment. ''^ There is the alternative of participation in the 
endless games of chance, always in high favor subsequent to 
pay-day. Of course there is reading, but current publications , 
with their insistence upon matters pertaining to the war, and 
their obvious ignorance of the real facts, get on his nerves. He 
cares not to be ''awakened to the realities of the situation.'* 
He does not want to hear the patriotic utterances of the jour- 
nalists at home. Congressional quibbles over elementary mili- 
tary preparations do not interest him very much when he is 
confronted with actualities. As for the classics, the soldier 
will ever distrust them. This exhausts his ordinary amuse- 
ments, for the soldier soon gets tired of repeating the same 
conversations with poilus, and letter-writing becomes an irk- 
some obligation. 

It is on this account that many {and among them may be 
humbly classed the authors) are driven, perforce, to ''literary '* 
production. It is a sort of last resort to sit down and turn out 
an irreverent verse about the war. It is his only retaliation 
against a heartless world for many hours of tedious boredom. 
But it is a poor revenge, for of course the world need not, and 
probably will not, read it. 

This is our only excuse for the present volume, which con- 
tains the ill-begotten fruits of many a "repos.'* We should 
like to state that these verses were written in the midst of heavy 
fighting, shell-fire, and destruction. We should like to tell 
stories of verses scribbled in the star-shell light, and by the 



lightning flashes of the guns. But the soul which is supposed 
to evidence its emotions during moments of stress by soaring 
into verse, more commonly evidences them by soaring into the 
nearest ^'abri,' where it remains in nervous discomfort until 
the bombardment is over. There is and will be but little liter- 
ature from the actual trenches. 

Many of these verses were originally written for and pub- 
lished in the *^ American Field Service Bulletin.** They make 
no pretensions beyond the expression of the thoughts and 
passing observations of two ambulance-drivers. 

Not wishing to be considered mercenary, the authors omit 
to give any other justification for this volume. 

France, 1917-18 



When you join tlie Ambulance, 
You have visions of a dance 

Witli the ohus, mitrailleuse, and aero bomb ; 
You expect a time exciting, 
Being always where there 's fighting, 

Where the big attack is always on the go ; 
But before you do your bit 
You will learn the truth of it — 

It 's not the front that 's deadly, 
But repos ! 

En repos ! En repos I 
Oh, you *re always in the bushes en repos ! 
Just evacuation work 
Which you 'd always rather shirk. 

And fatigue and other nuisances well known j 
You forever cool your heels 
In those endless poker deals, 

Or talk around the stove for hours on end ; 
It 's a sleepy, deadly life — 
You 'd much rather have the strife 

Than existence where Dame Rumor 

Is the only thing that 's rife ; 


En Repos 

The front is bell, you know, 
But you 'd always rather go 

Toward the trenche* and the star-shells 
Than repoi I 

When the blesses come in thick, 
And you have to take them quick 

From the "poste" to "opital" and back for 
When you get the needed sleep 
And you 're in it good and deep. 

And a call comes in, and out again you go ; 
Then you have your fill of it, 
But it 's better than to sit 
JEJti repos I 

En repos ! En repos ! 
Back again to some dead village en repos I 
Oh, it looks good from the front 
When you have to bear the brunt 

Of the blesses when they 're going o'er the top ; 
When they start a big attack 
And the wounded stream on back. 

Oh, you wish for all the rest you ever got ; 
But when you 're in the rear 
And the front is nowhere near 


En Repos 

And the noise of " beaucoup argument " 

Is all the noise you hear — 
Oh, it 's those times that you know 
That you 'd really rather go 

Toward the trenches and the star-shells 
Than repos ! 


There 's a line of trenches stretching 

From the Swiss land to the sea, 
And there 's many torn and wounded 

And there 's work for you and me. 
So we daily wait for orders 

Which will say, ere long, we know. 
That we 're headed toward the trenches 

And the star-shells — 
Off repos 1 


A TANGLED mess of shirts and socks. 
Underwear, shoe-strings, neckties and stocks, 
A bottle of something heaved in by chance, 
All wrapped up in a pair of pants. 
A U.S. " unie " that would n't fit, 
A knitted sweater that came unknit. 
Stamps and envelopes, paper and books. 
Flea-powder (spilled), some pins and hooks, 
A pair of shoes, a cake of soap, 
A rubber basin, a coil of rope, 
A pack of cards, and some dirty puttees, 
One of those dog-goned diaries, 
Postcards, a briquet a poilu made. 
The stock of a German hand-grenade, 
A copy of President Wilson's speech, 
Some stuff at the bottom I could n't reach — 
All of it tumbled in wild confusion. 
Bought in a moment of mad delusion ; 
Junk that is n't worth while to drag — 
The duffle in my duffle-bag ! 



I USED to think that stretcher-bearers 

Had a soft and easy life — 
That they could always keep away 

From all the hell and strife. 
But now I 've seen the work they do, 

And all the risks they run, 
I '11 hand them more for service than 

The man who packs a gun. 
Oh, it 's no easy job to care 

For blesses and for morts, 
But for all their work 's so rotten, 

They *re a dead game bunch of sports. 

They may not have to charge the Boche 

Or hold a trench somewhere, 
But when there 's any work to do 

They always are right there. 
When hell is popping at the front, 

And shells are flopping fast. 
They 're on the job, and stick it out 

Until the row is past. 

En Repos 

It 's not a pleasant job they 've got, 

With blesses and with morts, 
But for all they 're not the fighters, 

They Ve a dead game bunch of sports. 

When all are in the abris^ and 

The shells are falling thick, 
And a 'phone call says there 's wounded 

They go out without a kick. 
And if they 're shelling still, they just 

Pull down their lids of tin. 
And go where the poor devil fell, 

And try to bring him in. 
Oh, more than once it 's happened 

They 're themselves among the morts — 
But they grin and shrug their shoulders. 

Like a dead game bunch of sports. 

It 's not a joyous job to go 

Out into No Man's Land, 
But when there 's wounded, they are there 

To try and lend a hand. 
Their job most always takes them where 

There 's been a lot of harm. 
And the ohus 's no respecter of 
The red cross on the arm. 


Their job is endless, nasty work, 
But they don't get out of sorts, 

And the fighters all respect 'em, 

As they 're fearless, dead game sports I 


There 's a lure in the summer landscape 

When we 've done our work at the line, 
When we 've finished with gas and bullets, 

And the ohus' drawn-out whine. 
It 's then that the Highways start calling, 

And the greening fields of France, 
And the yearning is strong to go rolling along 

In a convoy of Ambulance. 

So cranh the ventures up^ my hoys! 

Make the old line twenty long ; 
Let the Flivver staff car lead it 

And the camion tail the throng, 
Then^ as grey car follows grey car. 

We will roll off free and gay^ 
In convoy^ in convoy ^ 

Down along the Grand Highway ! 

When we 're up at the front on duty, 
We work as the wounded come in ; 

And it 's not a life the most pleasant 
To see wrecks where humans have been ; 



We like our repos — when we get it, 
And to go on permission we 're strong ; 

But there 's nothing so fine as to be in a line 
Of a convoy that 's rolling along ! 

So crank the voitures up, my hoys! 

Throw in your hit and trunk. 
And to Henry'' s well-known rattle 

We ^11 tour off with all our junk; 
Let each grey car follow grey car 

To some distant town in France 
In a convoy, in a convoy, 

Of the carefree Ambulance! 


I 'vE struggled hard with phrase-books and with grammars 

on the side, 
And to parlez-vous with poilus most consistently I Ve tried, 

Till I thought I spieled the lingo of the land; 
But I have n't learned a sentence or an idiomatic phrase 
That could get you out of trouble (you get in in lots of 
Like the statement that you did n't understand. 

If, departing on permission, you should make the silly 

To get in a first-class carriage (which a private should n't 
Where the ticket-man explains you should n't be ; 
And the train is bound for Biarritz instead of Aix-les- 

Bains — 
Talk in English, or don't even argue with the man. 
Just look stupid and inform him, "jPas compris,^^ 

If in traffic you 're caught doubling along a route gardee. 
Or you wish to pass a sentry when you 're strolling round 
some day, 
Don't explain — you 'U get in trouble if you try ; 


Comprends Pas! 

Hide your learning if you *ve got it, for all cases such as 

Are the times, the saying has it, when our ignorance is 

And a simple " Pas compris " will get you by. 

If I ever "travel west" and find I'm waiting at the gate 
Of Heaven, and Saint Peter asks me why the hell I 'm late, 

Force of habit will dictate my swift reply ; 
For I 'm certain that his language will be foreign — any- 
To such as me — and so I'll take a risky chance and say 

A hurried " Comprends pas^^ and skid on by. 


Excitement, one thinks, would be the life 

Of the soldier in France mixed up in the strife; 

He's continually pictured amid the shells, 

Enduring fifteen kinds of hells — 

Camion men, and ambulanceers. 

Air pilots, tank men, and engineers — 

All are supposed, both day and night, 

To be mixed up in some sort of fight — 

Advancing, attacking, making a raid. 

Or dashing through shell-fire to give first aid. 

If we 'd been in the places they 've pictured us in, 

We 'd all long since have been deader than sin. 

After your first excitement is through 

You get mighty fed up, and nothing is new ; 

And it 's then you resort, just to drive off the bore, 

In those stove-side post-mortems about the war. 

How you came over, new at the task ; 
The foolish questions you used to ask ; 
The time you tinkered a hand-grenade 
And were such a damn fool that you were n't afraid 
Your letters home, those greenhorn crimes, 
(Each one published in the Spunhsville Tlmes^) 



Your first trip up to the Poste de Secours, 
The shell whose explosion was premature ; 
The night that the Boches shelled the road, 
When a shell lit ahead, but did not explode ; 
The dangerous cross-roads, where every day 
The shells got some one going that way ; 
The big attack, Boche souvenirs, 
The insipid taste of all French beers ; 
The time you broke down with a heavy load 
Just where the guns fired across the road ; 
The car that was smashed, and the ahrlsj too, - 
In fact all of the shells that came near you ; 
Atrocities, speeches, Wilson's note. 
How the people at home are off the boat ; 
Gas-shells, machine guns, the sausage balloon, 
Whether the war will be over soon ; 
What of the Kaiser? — Is he afraid 
Of what will happen with U. S. aid ? 
Paschendaele, Ypres, and scrap on the Aisne, 
What happened last spring to the big cam- 
paign ; 
Why the English at Cambrai nearly got beat, 
The Italian fiasco, the big retreat — 

Any old topic 's as good as new 
When passed out again for a stove review ; 


En Repos 

Life is a rehash, day by day, 
The same old stuff in a different way. 
We *re tired of war, and want it done, 
Englishman, Frenchman, Dago, Hun. 
But it still goes on, in its own sweet way, 
No matter what any one seems to say. 
And so we keep going, and stave off the bore 
By our stove-side post-mortems about the war 


This war is for " morals " we often are told, 

It develops our honor and right ; 
It 's a " soulful uplifter," it " brings out the best," 

It leads us from "darkness to light"; 
But all of this talk about morals and such 

Is compromised some, you will see 
By that prevalent habit of take it or nab it 

That is called by the French 
" System D." 

When up at the front on some duty or other 

And there 's nothing to do and you snooze, 
And some passing poilu, paid five sous a day. 

Drops in and departs with your shoes ; 
When your essence is stolen, or cooks sell joiir pinard 

To the poilus who want a cheap spree. 
Though perhaps not delighted, you don't get excited- — 

It 's part of the game — 
" System D." 

When your tools are all taken, you do not report it. 

But tap some one else's full set ; 
When the Lieut takes your coal, you just take a reprisal, 

(The kitchen 's a pretty good bet !) 


En Repos 

And so it goes on, from the General down, 

And adjusts itself quite equally, 
This uplift of war-time, this shoplift of no crime, 

This good moral game — 
"System D! " 


Oh, the Ambulance is a lazy life, 

The life of a care-free crew 
That fritters away a lot of its time 

With nothing whatever to do. 
But it is n't as easy as you might think 

To drive a Ford in France, 
For the Ambulance Service sure is hard — 

On the seats of the government pants. 

Tes^ a cave-free crew is the Ambulance — 

We love to do as we please ; 
We take our pleasures in generous measures 

Despite the strict M, P^s. 
We ''re a humanitarian hunch of hums. 

And it certainly seems a crime 
That ambulance non-combatants 
Should he always hilling time. 

Oh, half of the time we curse our luck 

Because we 're back en repos, 
But we get our fill of the dirty work 

When up to the front we go. 

En Repos 

Ob, we travel about in the rear of the front 

And squander our monthly pay, 
And all that we care a damn about 

Is our three square meals a day. 

Yes, a care-free crew is the Amhulance — 

We love to do as we please ; 
But we grouse and growl and raise a howl 

If we cannot take our ease. 
Each Amhulance man thinks he ought to be 

In some other hranch of the war, 
And we crah like hell when we know blame well 

That we We well off where we are. 

Oh, the Ambulance man is a humane bird 

Who comes from across the sea; 
He comes, as he thinks, with avowed intent 

To rescue Humanity. 
But he soon determines that he can best 

Diminish the Prussian pelf. 
If he simply devotes his efforts to 

Preserving his human self. 

Jes, a carefree crew is the Ambulance, 

With materialistic views ; 
We We dropped our illusions and foolish delusions 

And taken to foreign booze; 


Song of the Messengers of Mercy 

The Ambulance man^s sole object now 

Is the greatest amount offun^ 
And he 's trying to save for the Land of the Brave 

A worthless Son- Of- A- Gun ! 


Whenever the topics of talk run low, 
Whenever the lull in the chatter comes, 

When you think there 's a dam in the usual flow 
Of fruitless bull — some one succumbs. 
And soberly lets this phrase descend, 
" When do you think the war will end ? " 

The men on the steamers that ride the foam ; 

The camion drivers, or camionnette ; 
The letters that come from the folks at home ; 

And even the " Madame " in the buvette; 

They carry a burden of this one trend — 

" When do you think the war will end ? " 

You pick up a poilu along the route 

Who asks for a lift toward the first-line trench, 

And above the clatter you hear him shout 

Some words you can't get with your palsied French ^ 
No need to tell him you " don't comprend," — 
It 's " When do you think the war will end ? " 

Every one airily states his views 

At length — till you wish that he would be hung ; 


We Wish It Would 

Every one asks it — and none refuse — 

The foolishest question that ever was sprung. 
And before I forget it, my reader friend, 
When do you think the war will end ? 


Each Government, most every day, 

Prints a brief communique 
Concerning activities in the war, 
Explaining the ends we 're fighting for ; 
But I 've discovered, what is more — 

You can't believe a word they say. 

Our sector, just the other day. 

Got very active in a way ; 
The shell-holes 'round our ahri door 
Were multiplied by several score — 
A dangerous factor to ignore. 

And yet — " Hien a signaler ! '* 

Last night a Boche without a qualm 
Let fall near camp a noisy bomb 

That blew a building all to whey. 
" That sure was awful," you will say. 

But hark to the commimique^ — 
It says, " The night was calm." 

Such things as these make one feel sore. 
Make you regret to shed your gore — 


I guess I '11 quit and go away 
Unless in some communique 
A little notice they should pay 
To what / ^m doing in the war ! 


Around our barracks stove at niglit 
We are mighty careless what we say ; 

If anything 's not done up right, 

We 'd do it better by a sight, 
If we could only have our way. 
Around our stove. 

All discipline that 's ever tried 

We 're always ready to resent ; 
We give our officers a ride 
To take the sparkle off their pride, 
Or else we cuss the Government, 
Around our stove. 

Around our stove we make a fuss 

About the risky things we 've done ; 
Or else pick flaws in some poor cuss — 
Tell what we 'd done, if it was us. 
Why, battles have been lost and won 
Around our stove ! 

You 'd think a crowd of anarchists 
Had gathered, were you passing by, 


Around Our Stove 

Or pugilistic pacifists, 
And not plain amb'lance motorists, 
For, mon Dieu^ how the bull does fly 
Around our stove ! 


When I first came to France and went out to the front 

I was crazy to get in the midst of the fighting ; 
I 'd volunteer always for any old stunt, 

And I never once thought of allezing or liting; 
I then had much scorn for the caves and abris — 

I preferred to be out where the ohus were popping — 
But now that I know they 're most like to hit me, 

I pike for the ahri without ever stopping. 

The abri^ the ahri, we go on the run, 
We dori't want to he targets for any Boche gun ; 
We dive from our cars, and we thank all our stars 
We ^ve an ahri deep down that is safe from the Hun! 

It 's not as heroic, or handsome, or brave 

As to stand 'mid the shells with a lit cigarette ; 

But we really prefer it to six feet of grave — 

For that 's about all, for your stunts, you will get ; 

If they 're shelling a road — well, you have to go through 


Though you 're scared till you 're green, and you think 
you are done ; 


Cave Abris 

But, finished your work, you don't stick 'round to view 
it — 
You make for the ahri upon a dead run ! 

77ie ahri, the ahri, allez when you We done ; 
We donH want to get friendly with any Boche gun ; 
Take away your citations, and fine decorations — 
Just give us an ahri that 's safe from the Hun! 


When I hit France, a Service man 

Said wisely unto me, 
" You 've only got two blankets there — 

Go buy another three." 
♦* la summer ? " I said with surprise ; 

" Why, sure," he said, " it 's cold." 
I thought him crazy, but I bought. 

And shoved across my gold. 
Well, summer came, the days were warm, 

But oh, Good Lord, the nights ! 
For feeling cold the Arctic zone 

Had nothing — they were frights I 
With blankets five, at 3 a.m. 

I 'd feel stark frozen dead. 
There was no warmth in Rue Raynouard's 

Pet acrobatic bed. 
There, frozen stiff, I 'd lie and think 

Of what he said to me, 
And wonder why that fool 

Had only told me three I 



We 've fought the battles of this war 

A thousand times : — each little fight 
Has caused the stove-side bull to flow 

From early dawn to late at night; 
From every phase and point of view 

We 've talked the business o'er and o'er; 
We 've guessed what Ludendorf would do, 
Told how we 'd work it, — me and you. 

We thought we had it all down right, 

And yet last night, once more. 
We settled the war ! 

We 've figured how it could be won 

By either side, and picked the point ; 
We 've brought up troops for our attack. 

We 've charged the line and gained the joint ; 
We 've chased the enemy with tanks ,* — 

Back toward the Rhine his legions pour ; — 
We 've killed him off in close-filled ranks 
And got the whole world's grateful thanks. 

We thought we'd finished up the row. 

And yet, somehow, once more 
We '11 settle the war ! 

En Repos 

Last winter round our barracks stove 

We figured how to meet the blow 
The Germans said they 'd give us when 

They staged their giant springtime " show " ; 
We Ve often said about this fight, 

" Doug Haig sure could have saved the gore 
By using all our plans so bright," 

(If they had only been more right !) — 
We had it finished on the spot, 

Yet now we 've got, once more, 
To settle this war 1 


These foreign cars sound fine at home ; 

They cost like holy sin ; 
They have a strange and foreign look, 

And rich men ride within. 
But here, where they are all about. 

They do not look so fine ; 
Then, say ! how good it seems to see 

A Ford come down the line I 

You Ve got reputation, Henry ; 

You 've got millions running, too ; 
Yet at home they call you road lice. 

Which is merely French for poux. 
They never saw these foreign tubs, 

Stalled all along the "Eoute Gardee,'* 
While you whiz by a-hitting but 

The highest high spots of the way. 
You may have your little troubles, 

You may lose your bolts and nuts. 
But they wish they had you, Henry, 

For you sure have got the " guts." 

The other day my Fiat car 
Was hitting quite a pace. 


En Repos 

I heard a car come on behind, 

I cut loose for a race ; 
I opened wp to take the hill, 

And then I gave a sigh. 
For a poilu in a Flivver 

Had swiftly passed me by I 

You have got the makings, Henry, 

And you 've got that U. S. sound ; 
You have got a U. S. switch-key, 

And a homelike sort of pound. 
In the States they may mistreat you 

As a jitney or a plough. 
But in war they have to get there, 

And you sure have shown them how. 
You may have your little troubles. 

You may lose your bolts and nuts. 
But they hand it to you, Henry, 

For you surely have the " guts." 

You may take the Dago Fiat, 

The Renault, the Berliet, 
Just lead me to a Henry Ford — 

I '11 swap you any day. 
These foreign-speaking cars may sound 

All right to foreign ears, 


Henry on the Grande Route 

But they never can touch Henry, 
In a hundred thousand years ! 

You *re not so handsome, Henry, 

As a fancy foreign car. 
But your homely U. S. body 

Has a finer look by far. 
You maybe have but just two speeds, 

Perhaps you 're done in lowly tin. 
But where 's the man with soul so dead 

Who says you 're not all there within ! 
What if you do have troubles small? 

What if you do lose bolts and nuts ? 
You make them all bow down in praise. 

For, Henry, you have got the " guts.'* 


After the war we *re going to go 

To frolic in frivolous Paris ; 
We '11 make a stream of champagne flow 

From Etoile down to Saint Denis ; 
Through the Arc de Triomphe we will file, 

And visit all the swell cafes ; 
We '11 celebrate it in a style 

Not equalled since the Hundred Days : 
That 's what we 're really fighting for — 
That party that we 've got in store — 
After the war. 

After the war we 're going to throw 

Away these sombre khaki clothes ; 
We '11 tell the officers to go 

Back where the heavy timber grows. 
Each one of us is going to wed 

A charming little French soubrette, 
Provided all of us are n't dead, 

As we may well be some day yet. 
We 're ready any time to cease ; 
Why, all we 're fighting for is peace — 
After the war. 

Quand la Guerre sera finie 

After the war we '11 take a trip 

Around the world by land and sea ; 
We '11 bum our way from ship to ship ; 

We '11 be unhampered — we '11 be free ! 
After a time we '11 reach New York ; 

Then will commence a round of fun : 
There '11 be no bottle with a cork 

After it 's over and we 're done ; 
The pace we '11 hit will be a streak 
When we get back to Amerique — 
After the war. 

These are the plans that we have made 

For the day when the craze of war is past. 
For the day we sometimes feel afraid 

Will never come must come at last ; 
And when it does, we 've doped it out 

In the manner I have just portrayed. 
We 've fixed it up to gad about, 

And these are the plans that we have made. 
But all of our dreams are but idle foam ; 
As a matter of fact, we '11 hit for home — 
After the war ! 



The star-shells flare ; the tortuous trenches wind 
In snake-like turns from sea to mountain height. 
Great shells of steel, designed by master mind, 
Crash from the guns and kill ; they hiss in flight. 
Long lines of men in faded blue and brown 
March grimly up toward agony and pain. 
Charge shell-torn lands of fire and steel, go down, 
And lie and rot, their deaths perhaps in vain. 
Come, come, O Bard, from out some unknown place, 
Come and record, in songs and words of fire. 
The noble deaths, the struggles of the race. 
The fight to check an Emperor's desire ! 
Come, strike thy harp ; the force of man is hurled ; - 
Give us an Iliad of the Western World ! 



A monarch's hopes, a people duped to fight, 

Nor heed the object they were fighting for, 

Conflicting aims of nations, each one right, 

Have plunged the world, unwilling, into war. 

Three years of tragic bloodshed, waste, and woe, 

Three years of useless struggle on the field, 

Of daily conflict with an unseen foe 

And wholesale murder which no cause can shield, 

Unless, hereafter, when the end shall be. 

The right of war shall be denied to states. 

And power of a real democracy 

Shall purge the folly of unnatural hates. 

Then firmly Freedom shall arise and stand 

Where writhes the bloody snake of " No Man's Land." 



The Champagne hills were blue last night, 
The western sky was flushed with red, 
And the poilus played at a soccer game ; 
Beyond, old Teton raised his head. 

The poilus played at a soccer game. 
While the heavy cannon boomed near by. 
And, in the distance, dot-like, small. 
Were the Boche balloons in the northern sky. 

The poilus played at a soccer game. 
Forgetting the war's infernal strife. 
And the watchers laughed and talked and smoked 
As if this play were their all in life. 

The poilus played at a soccer game. 
While the Boche balloons with seeing eye 
Watched o'er the Champagne hills of France 
From the reddening blue of the evening sky — 
They hung and watched, and I wondered if they 
Saw the poilus at their play. 



Over the sleeping little town 

A silvery full moon casts its light, 

Down o'er the barracks, gaunt and brown, 
Down o'er the chalk mounds, low and white. 

The outlined trees stand stark and bare; 

The church spire towers o'er the silent street ; 
Long since the echoing bugle's blare 

Has sounded the clarion for "retreat." 

A silvery haze drifts thin and low; 

The clumps of pines are an inky blue; 
Down on the roofs of the barracks row 

The moonlight glistens on the dew. 

Then of a sudden comes a gun — 

A crash, a lingering, echoing scream : 

The stillness, the calm, the peace are done, 
Vanished like fragments of a dream. 

Come in a happier time, O Night ; 

Come soothe this agony and pain. 
And bathe with all your tender light 

These troubled hills of the Champagne. 

Mourmelon le Grand 
Champagne Front 
March 1, 1918 



A FERTILE, lovely valley 

Which is scarred by marks of strife ; 
A host of red-tiled villages 

Where ruin now is rife; 
Houses wrecked and roofs caved in, 

All open to the rain, 
And churches wrecked and battered — 

Down along the Aisne. 

Deserted are the villages 

And overgrown the fields. 
And autumns four have come and died, 

And there have been no yields, 
But only waste and shell-holes 

Where there once was yellowing grain 
And fruitful sounds of harvest — 

Down along the Aisne. 

Gun-pits scar the hillsides 

And the trees are ripped and torn; 
The roads by wheels of cannon 

Have been rutted deep and worn ; 

And Elsewhere 

Grim trenches cut the meadows 
And the barbed-wire lines remain, 

Their rust deep hid in wild grass — 
Down along the Aisne. 

When the roar of war is over, 

And all the killing 's done, 
And a peace rests on the hillsides 

And a silence on the gun. 
Then the tender hands of Nature 

Will touch and soothe your pain, 
And bring back life and harvests — 

Down along the Aisne. 
Germoisey October 27, 1917 

ON THE OISE, 1918 

The lilacs bloom by the castle wall, 

Whose crumbling stones tell another age, 

And spring, in our hearts, seems the best of all, 
So fair has Nature set her stage. 

The willows bud new leaves of green. 
And, up on the hill in the forest deep, 

Amid the underbrush between 

The trees, the first new violets peep. 

The spring again, so sweet and gay, 

The spring recurrent ! . . . yet the guns 

Beat and rumble, night and day. 
Up where the battle's lifeblood runs. 

The lilacs bloom by the castle wall. 

And still will their blossoms scent the dawn 

When the cannon's roar, and the bugle's call, 
And we ourselves, are dead and gone. 
Pont-St.-Maxence, April 15, 1918 



A BIT of ivy clambers o'er the wall 

Of this forsaken house in Amiens ; 

Its crumbling shell-torn stones about it fall, 

Its street is lonely and devoid of men. . . . 

Deserted is this city of the dead, 

Unseeing, cold, its shutters blind stare down, 

Unheeding of the lonely sentry's tread, 

Insensate to the sadness of the town. . . . 

Gone, gone the folk of all these pleasant streets, 

Gone all the colors, all the swirl of life. 

Gone all the sounds, save where the cannon beats, 

And brings, each hour, new sadness to the strife. . . . 

And yet, here where the ruins hourly fall, 

This bit of ivy clambers o'er the wall. 



The guns ! The guns ! 
They rumble and roar and pound 5 

The guns ! The guns ! 
The night is a welter of sound ; 
Flashes that pierce the blackening sky, 
Pits of flame in the woods near by, 
Shells that go hissing along on high 
From the guns ! 

The guns ! The guns ! 
They rumble amid the waste ; 

The guns ! The guns ! 
They 're never in any haste ; 
Monsters of iron that never tire, 
Endless they keep their rolling fire, 
A hunger for steel 's the sole desire 
Of the guns ! 

The guns ! The guns ! 
They mangle and tear and kill ; 

The guns ! The guns ! 
They strike with an iron will; 

And Elsewhere 

Nor heeding nor stopping, their fire they pour, 
And many 's the lad that will hear no more 
The sudden crash and the hiss and roar 
Of the guns I 


Out of the darkness of the night, 
Over the guns' staccato crash, 

Suddenly, silently, curving high. 

Spreading a glow o'er the inky sky. 
Showing the lines like an ugly gash, 

Then drifting away in a breath of air — 
The star-shell flare. 

As o'er a pageant of the gods. 

Wondrous it hangs, majestic, still. 

Revealing beneath its searching glow 

The wire and the shell-holes down below, 
Lighting the slope of the fire-swept hill, 

No longer green, no longer fair 
In the star-shell's flare. 

The eye of two armies, face to face. 

It searches that riven strip of land, 
The waste of holes, the lines of wire, 
Waiting to turn a hail of fire 

On perhaps a stray patrolling band — 
What sudden deaths have happened there. 
In the star-shell's flare! 

And Elsewhere 

It drifts and dies, and the darkness comes, 

Twofold blacker than before. 
Perhaps when this whirl with death is done, 
And silence rests on the belching gun, 

We '11 think again of our days of war. 
And the men we used to know out there, 
In the star-shell's flare. 



The war has developed a singular art, 
The scenery painter's special part ; 
Deceiving, concealing beneath his paint, 
Making things look like what they ain't, 
Buildings and wagons and cannon, too. 
He mottles and hides from the searching view 
Of airplanes that hover in white nuages — 
That 's what the French call " camouflage." 

By a similar process my lady dips 
Her brush to redden her faded lips ; 
For this the broker waters his stocks ; 
Cigars have pictures upon the box ; 
The politician's broad black hat. 
Most of his speeches for the matter of that ; 
Sand in the sugar, water in milk, 
The plain girl's stockings, made of silk, 
Lovers' kisses and timid looks, 
The lawyer's impressive shelf of books, 
Comic sheets in the doctor's room. 
Compliments carved on the dead-beat's tomb, 
All that we say from birth to death, 
A spearmint flavor on a beery breath, 


Over There 

Pomp and glory and wealth and fame, 
The great reputation of What 's-His-Name, 
Even the night bell on the garage — 
Every damn bit of it " camouflage " ! ! 


I 'vE been roosting over where 

They've a sentence, " C'est la guerre,'* 
That you hear reiterated o'er and o'er. 

It 's a cheerful little thing, 

Hopeful and inspiriting, 
And, translated into English, means 
" That 's war.-' 

When everything you see 

Is as rotten as can be. 
When life 's a shaky gamble or a bore, 

You '11 derive great consolation 

From that patent observation. 
For it 's comforting to know it — 
That it 's war. 

You tote a gun and pack, 
Rain a-trickling down your back, 
And you sleep in some damp dug-out on the floor, 
And you wake alive with fleas, — 
Don't get irritated, please; 
Just remember that it is n't sport — 
It 's war, 

Over There 

You must live on rancid grub, 

And they curse you for a dub, 
Or rout you out to do some filthy chore. 

And you have n't had a bath 

For a month, — restrain your wrath, 
And repeat that everlasting phrase, 
"That's war." 

If you 're like the cheerful French, 

When the Boches strafe your trench 
And you see your comrades slaughtered by the score, 

You can get much satisfaction 

From that obvious abstraction, 
And you '11 simply shake your head and say, 
" That 's war." 

And there is no more to tell 

When you 've found that war is hell 
(I think I 've heard that said somewhere before) ; 

If you 're in it, you poor duffer, 

Then you '11 have to grin and suffer 
In the flames of hell — I 'm telling you 
" That 's war ! " 


We 're used to the ways of the soldier man, 

Moving, existing as best he can, 

We 're used to the ohus^ and first-line trench, 

And the smoking stove and rickety bench ; 

We 're accustomed to sleeping in our clothes 

In barracks cold as the arctic snows. 

And wading in mud up to our knees, 

Wearing those dog-goned roll puttees : 

We 're used to all the government things 

Which the Q. M. drags in or the postman brings — 

These, and all of this comfortless life 

That 's caused by Wilhelm's desire for strife. 

We 're used to it, yes, but what of the day 
When we '11 be (thank God !) out of government pay 
When once more we '11 return to civil pursuits, 
Far from bawling commands and salutes? 
How will we take it ? — it sure seems queer 
To contemplate it from 'way out here — 
Civilian clothes, thin socks, low shoes ; 
Being able to wear whatever you choose ; 
Neckties and collars, a clean white shirt ; 
Showers, and bathtubs, and none of this dirt ; 


Over There 

Theatres, street-cars, and fine hotels ; 
Housemaids and servants and front-door bells ; 

Carpets, pianos, and furnace heat; 

Sleeping on something called a sheet ; 

Ham and eggs, butter, and real white flour ; 

Getting up for breakfast at any old hour ; 

But, best of all in this life of ease, 

Being able to do just as you please, 

Telling corporal, lieutenant, and general, too, 

To go to heU if it pleases you ; 

Far from all military guff. 

Reasonless orders and all of that stuff — 

In fact, just being, once again, 

Civilians — or better, just free men I 


How will it be — I must stop, I fear, 

For our corporal's bawling voice I hear — 

(That officious fool, it 's his belief 

He *s a cross between God and Commander-in-Chief). 


You oft see a sign in France 

With the little word Defense^ 
Which, translated, means " Forbidden " over here. 

You will see this little sign 

When you drink or when you dine, 
Yet it never gives the poilus any fear. 

It 's Defense d'Entrer when 

You want a drink before it 's ten, 
And Defense to sell a brandy there at all. 

But you just go to the rear. 

Say a word in Madam's ear. 
And you 're in the place and served with trouble small. 

It's Defense de Douhler — Passer 
All along the main highway. 
But the gendarme never throws you in the pen ; 
He just lets you pass on by. 
Only sees with half an eye. 
While he shrugs his shoulders saying, " Ce n^est rienJ*^ 

Oh, the poilus bear the brunt 
When they 're working at the front ; 


■ ' ■ - ^*^'''*'"- 

Over There 

And they get but little pleasure from the game : 
And the principal of these — 
When the word Defense he sees. 

He goes right ahead and does it just the samer 


If you think that this war is aU cheering and song, 
If you think it 's a frolic that should n't be missed, 

It won't be so long 

Till you 'U find you are wrong 
By the long string of names on the casualty list. 

The casualty list, the casualty list, 

The dead and the wounded, the missing and missed ^ 

The follows who laughed 

On the day of the draft, 
Their names will go down on the casualty list I 

The private who dreamed of an immortal fame 

In a charge when he got a slight wound on the wrist. 

He turned up his toes 

While blowing his nose, 
And down went his name on the casualty list. 

The casualty list, the casualty list. 

The dead and the wounded, the missing and missed ; 

The cross that he won 

Was a small wooden one 
Inscribed with the name that went down on the list, 


Over There 

There 's no one too lowly, and no one too proud 

To be classed with the dead and the wounded and missed, 

It's neither exclusive 

Nor yet too obtrusive — 
All names are alike on the casualty list. 

Tlie casualty list<, the casualty llst^ 

It ^follows wherever the bullet has hissed, 

And there 's always a place 

For your name or your face 
In the infinite ranks of the casualty list. 


There are many things of interest 

Around this little war, 
And often by experiment 

You find out what they 're for ; 
But there 's one thing, if you monkey, 

You won't live to be afraid, 
It 's that harmless-looking plaything — 
The Hand Grenade! 

They 're an innocent young handful, 

And oft the rookies start, 
With a hammer and a monkey wrench 

To take them all apart. 
Then occurs a loud explosion. 

And then we all give aid 
To find where he was scattered by 
The Hand Grenade ! 

I was just like all the green guys 

On coming to the front — 
I picked them up and brought them in 

And thought it quite a stunt. 

Over There 

Later on, when they exploded, 

I learned to be afraid. 
To lose your friends, just monkey with 
The Hand Grenade ! 

Now when some green guy brings one in, 

Just as a souvenir, 
I do not stay to cuss him out. 

But merely disappear ; 
When it goes off we '11 merely say, 
"When to his rest he 's laid, 
"Poor fool, he got his playing with 
A Hand Grenade I " 


" Dear Folks At Home : — I am quite well," 
Wrote Sergeant William Jones, 

" My health is good, our feed is fine. 
As yet I 've broke no bones. 

" We 're in the first-line trenches now 
To do a two weeks' bit ; 
But things are tranquil, and we 're sure 
Of never getting hit. 

" For the Boche he does n't strafe us much. 
Though we give him all Hector. 
For him it 's just continued hell ; 
For us, a quiet sector ! 

" So do not worry ; I 'm quite safe 
Down in my shelter here. 
It's really no more dangerous 
Than somewhere in the rear." 

So was writing Sergeant William Jones 

When an ohus came his way, 
And blew things up quite fearfully 

For such a quiet day. 

Over There 

The Sergeant, cursing fluently, 

Got into quite a rage, 
For the shell had spattered mud upon 

His neatly pencilled page. 

" these shells," the Sergeant said, 

" They sure do get my goat! " 
That 's what he said up in that trench, 
(But it is n't what he wrote !) 


The annoyances of soldiers are supposed, in civil life, 

To be the shells and bullets and the sounds of endless 
strife ; 

They think he gets quite weary of the trenches and the 

And the water and the trench raids, and the sniping of the 

But were truth known, it is n't so — the front 's a peaceful 

And the soldier's real annoyance is the back home popu- 

It 's good old men who send him books of firm and helpful 

And tracts on keeping well and strong, and how to do up 
splints ; 

It 's parsons who will pray for him, and send trench Bibles, 

And silly girls he never met who write him billets- 

It 's men who 've not enlisted who always wish that he, 

If he runs across a German, "would give him hell for 


Over There 

The romantic ladies pleading, " Oh, you will be such a dear, 
Now get a Boche spiked hat for me, just as a souvenir! " 
The man who writes, " Be sure and Kan the Kaiser while 

you *re there " 
(He sends this warlike message from his office swivel 

chair) ; 
It *s people safely back at home who always sternly write, 
"The country hasn't wakened to the fact we're in the 

fight ! " 

They 're nothing new, these pesterers of honest soldier folk, 
But just the same ones, now transformed, who always will 

provoke — 
Here 's just the same old pastor, with his droning parisb 

And the gossiping old neighbor, with her tales beneath her 

shawl ; 
The doctor, and the lawyer, and the man who wanted war, 
(And who pleaded his exemption so that he could run his 

store !) 
Here 's the meddler and the loafer and the boring family 

And the silly debutante who chatters nothing hours on end ; 
The gusher of the tea-room now is hunting souvenirs. 
The " Ladies' Temperance Circle " is still down on wines 

and beers! 


War's Annoyances 

All, all are here — they 're mobilized to help to win the 

They '11 "do their bit back there at home," though Heaven 

knows what for ! 
The soldier twice is bothered — both in front and in the 

And the latter 's most annoying, say the soldier men out 



They are n't so much to look at in their clothes of faded 
And with all their kits and traps they would n't pass a 
stiff review ; 
They look at rules and regulations with only half an eye, 
And the gendarmes set to watch them turn their backs 
and let them by ; 
They 're a slender, moustached bunch of men, and little 
every one. 
But for all of their appearance they 're a match for any 

OA, the Poilus^ the Poilus, with their guns upon their 
Every time they Ve met the Hun they 've given him 
the sack ; 
When hell is popping on the front, no matter how or 
You will find that it^s the Poilus who are sticking 
it, out there. 

When Joffre said, " We '11 hold the Marne," they gave the 
Germans hell ; 
Then they knocked the spots from Fritzy down along 
the Sorame as well ; 


The Poilus 

Along the Aisne they set to rout the Kaiser's Prussian 
And they broke up his return attacks and whipped him 
yard by yard ; 
When Petain said, " They shall not pass," before that hell, 
They stuck it and they proved to be a match for any 

OA, the Poilus^ the Poilus^ with their guns upon their 

They '-ue done the job up thoroughly^ defending or 
attack ; 
It makes no difference what the work^ it makes no mat- 
ter where^ 

You will find that it^s the Poilus who are sticking 
it, out there. 

In Belgium or in Alsace, or down along the Aisne, 

At Verdun, or at Craonne, or down in the Champagne, 
Take them in artillery, or take them in the tanks. 

Or take them in the aeroplanes, or take them in the 
ranks, — 
Anywhere along the line, — they 're scrappers every one. 
And they 've fought it out and proved it, for they 've 
cleaned up on the Hun ! 


Over There 

OA, the Poilus^ the Poilus, with their guns upon their 
They are n't so very showy, hut they 're got the 
soldier s knack; 
In summer heat or winter snow, or in the starshelVs 
It will always he the Polios who will stick it out^ 
out there I 


This war would be extremely drear 
If we had not long since begun 

To view events that happen here 
Transfigured by our sense of fun. 

For many daily incidents 
To which we have been used, 

Replete with humor quite immense, 
Occur to keep the men amused. 

Why, almost every single day 

Some one is either killed or maimed 

In some excruciating way — 
Or maybe permanently lamed. 

Just take, for instance, when last week 
Our raiders, fooled by some mirage. 

Too soon dashed forward like a streak 
And ran into their own barrage. 

When Smith, to show that he was calm, 
Went on a sapping expedition, 

They blew him skyward with a bomb — 
Or with some other ammunition. 

Over There 

That don't compare with when we read, 
As oft we do these cheerful days, 

How bombing planes have sown their seed 
On citizens and embusquesi 

We pray that this philosophy 

Continues as it was begun, 
And thank whatever gods may be 

For giving us our sense of fun. 

And yet not one among the lot. 

E'en as he laughs at some poor bloke, 

But fondly hopes that he is not 
To be the point of the next joke I 


An Arctic explorer, recently returned to London, states that the Esquimaux 
do not know that the war is going on. {Paris edition, of the New York Herald.) 

At last Utopia has been found, 
A land where of war there is no sound, 
No talk that 's gone on for three years now — 
Whether "Willy" or "Nicky" started the row, 
" Kan the Kaiser," "Pas hon la guerre^'' 
Of prices raised on the daily fare. 
Things go on as they always go, 
And he 's quite content, is the Esquimau. 

No Belgian Relief or Orphan Days 
Have disturbed his peaceful, placid ways ; 
He never read headlines about the strife, 
Or saw the Kaiser cartooned in " Life " ; 
He never saw all this camouflage sham, 
Or read a Hindenburg telegram. 
In fact up there in the Arctic snow 
He 's really quite happy — the Esquimau. 

War news, autocracies, a peace that is just, 
Gott, the Kaiser, Bethmann-HoUweg's crust. 
Cannon, machine guns, the dbus^ whine, 
The rocking-chair patriot's militant line, 


Over There 

Trenches, aeroplanes, " No Man's Land " — 
None of these things have disturbed his band. 
Slothful and soft in peace they grow, 
But they quite enjoy life, do the Esquimaux 1 

They Ve never been fooled by the popular craze 

Of hunting for news in communiques. 

In the work of the censors they yet have to see 

The expression of ideal democracy. 

They had not the need, nor even the chance, 

To issue an "Iceberg Loan" for France. 

And so in spite of their ice and snow. 

They are not bad off — are the Esquimaux I 


You may think that fame immortal 

May be garnered from the war, 
If by daring deeds you 're finished 

So that you exist no more. 
But you '11 find that you are also 

One whom Fame will give the boot, 
For all they '11 say when you are done 

Will simply be — 
" Capout ! " 

Daring privates volunteering 

To pull some fancy stuff 
Often think their show of bravery 

Will give their rep a puff. 
But they 'U find, when they are potted, 

That nobody gives a hoot : 
They 'U be turned under like the rest 

And mentioned as — 
" Capout ! " 

When the daring aviator 
On his first trip at the front 

Tries to equal famous Guynemer 
By a very reckless stunt, 

Over There 

The Boche will dip and get him 
And he '11 land upon his snoot, 

And those watching will not sorrow, 
But will merely say — 

At the front there is no weeping, 

And for the dead no fame. 
And before your own fine doings 

There were thousands just the same. 
If you plan to be Immortal, 

Just remember, you galoot, 
They '11 forget your name and doings 

When you 're just a plain 


Two guns were resting side by side, 
Two guns of very different spans, 

A monster cannon, gaping wide, 
The other just a soixaiite quinze. 

The mighty railroad gun was proud — 
He was the latest great invention : 

He held himself above the crowd, 
Nor to it paid the least attention. 

^^ Bonjour^'' the soixante-quinze remarked, 
"You are a stranger here, I see. 
I 'm glad to see that you 've embarked 
To help us save democracy." 

The Big Gun turned an icy stare 

Upon the impudent recruit. 
He said, " Come to attention, there ! 

And also — fire me a salute ! " 

" Say ! " cried the little fellow then, 

"Whom do you think you 're talking to? 
Don't try to pull that stuff again; 
You 've yet to find out who is who. 

Over There 

"We've done without you up till now; 
I 'd like to ask you, just for fun, 
Who won the Marne and saved the row? 
And who it was that held Verdun ? 

"Because you're always in the rear 
And throw three tons of steel away, 
You never have the slightest fear — 
You great big noisy emhusque I " 

The Big Gun flashed an angry frown 
And rolled off with a vicious snort. 

Remarking, " I shall mark you down 
Upon my very next report ! " 

And so, although against the Huns 
They fight to further the same plans, 

All soixante-quinzes despise Big Guns, 
And Big Guns hate the soixante-quinzes. 


All men have been sorted these warlike days 

Into various species of emhusques. 

Safe in the rear they 're supposed to lurk, 

Missing their share of the dirty work ; 

And each is condemned by the critical view : 

What the other man thinks he ought to do. 

Thus emhusques are diverse and many. 
! Though by this rule there are hardly any 

To the fellow at home or around that region, 
; To the man in the trench their name is legion I 

Artillerymen, doctors, brancardiers. 
Ambulance-drivers, infirmiers ; 
Those in the service behind the line; 
The soldiers campaigning in Palestine; 
Hospital units, men of munitions ; 
Those who hold down the soft positions ; 
The ones who by constant vertebral wear 
Erase the plush from a cushioned chair ; 
The voluble statesman and his backer; 
Clean on down to the just plain slacker, 
Our backward friend of the physically fit. 
Who talks and talks about "doing his bit." 


Over There 

Each is accused through the endless list 
Till all of them hop on the pacifist ! 

The name is new, but what 's a name ? 
We Ve had them among us just the same, 
And shall have when we Ve finished the strife 
The embusques of civilian life. 
There '11 be plenty of indigent nabobs 
Who might be working at honest jobs : 
That proverbial fellow, the gentile bum, 
Who hits it high on his dad's income, 
The society beau, and the suave head waiter, 
The capitalist and the speculator, 
All of the lichens of every trade. 
The travelling companion, the lady's maid, 
The free-lunch loafer in the saloon. 
And th' inevitable brush-broom coon — 
All doing nothing in manifold ways. 
Every last one of them embusques/ 


You don't mean to say you don't feel it — 

The urge to be up in the air, 
To swoop and to dip and to wheel it, 

Like that boy in the Spad over there ? 

I tell you there 's no life to match it ; 

You live weU — in comfort and ease. 
In the army — perhaps you don't catch it ! 

In the air you can do as you please. 

There 's no one can give you an order, 
When you 're up there alone in the sky. 

You can fight, or else light for the border, 
And either you do or you die. 

On leave you can swank it and swagger — 
You 're always dressed up fit to kill. 

You can walk with a strut or a stagger; 
You've entree wherever you will. 

You've excitement and chance for advancement 
And honor — and that 's the plain truth. 

What need of further enchantment ? 
It 's the game of all others for youth ! 



You are not so bad a fellow 

When we take you one by one, 
You 've got a fair amount of *' guts," 

Judging all the things you 've done. 
We admit you 're quite a soldier — 

If you 've officers a score — 
And the fights you 've made against us 

Sure have made us pretty sore. 
But for all your mailed-fist soldiering, you were never in 

the rank 
Of the Scotchman or Canadian, the Poilu or the Yank ! 

You 've a brainy bunch of generals, 

Although the brainy work they 've done 
Has brought about but little else 

Than giving you the name of " Hun." 
You 're an awkward sort of person. 

But your science sure is fine ; 
It 's the truth, and we admit it. 
It is hard to break your line. 
But for aU your fancy science, you are n't in the fighting 

Of the Anzac or Canadian, the Poilu or the Yank I 


To Fritz 

You sure can land an awful punch, 

You face your danger like a man, 
You try your best to win the war. 

And yet you never somehow can. 
You 've had us oft at fearful odds, 

And yet the Marne has told its tale; 
You did your damndest at Yerdun, 

And yet your efforts only fail : 
The secret, Fritz, is simply this — you are n't in the fight- 
ing rank 
Of our Anzac, or our Scotty, or our Poilu, or our Yank ! 


Each kind of a shell has a song of its own 

It invariably chants on its long arching flight, 
From the time it ascends with a whimpering drone 

To the hair-raising scream when it starts to alight. 
If the tune is prolonged, then everything 's well — 

You know it 's not you it is coming to see ; 
But listen a bit, you can easily tell, 

What sort of a guest it is going to be. 

There 's the ping of the bullet, the gas-shell's thump^ 

And the zoo-hum-hang ! of the " grosse marmite " ; 
There 's the muffled thud of the harmless " dud " 

That falls at your very feet. 
There 's the obus' zoo-oo-oo : ker-JR UMP ! 

The whiz of the "eclat," and wicked whirrs 
Of the shrapnel-burst ; but the very worst 

Is the tac-tac-tac of the " mitrailleuse." 

Each kind of a gun takes a part in the show 

With its songs and its solos aU marked on the score, 

The rifles sing treble, the cannon take low 
In that Wagneresque comedy-opera, War ; 


La Belle Musique 

But when it commences that ominous sound, 
Be the audience German, or if it be Ally, 

It frankly retires and stays underground 
From overture to the last grand finale. 

There 's the ping of the bullet, the gas-shell's thump. 

And the zoo-hum-hang ! of the "grosse marmite" ; 
There 's the muffled thud of the harmless " dud," 

If the music 's quite complete. 
There's the obus' zoo-oo-oo : her-JRUMP ! 

The whiz of the " eclat," and wicked whirrs 
Of the shrapnel-burst ; but the worst of all 

Is the tac-tac-tac of the "mitrailleuse." 


Cut out your mournful talk of death, 

And play your gayest tune ; 
Bring out your jokes and laughs and jests, 
And stop your thoughts of last bequests, 

Be it over late or soon. 

Sing all the songs we used to know, 
And the ragtime with a swing ; 

Take out your black-gloved mourning folk ; 

They don't know life is just a joke. 
Who cares what luck may bring? 

We want to whistle while we march. 

And when the front is hell ; 
If we are hit, why, we are hit ; 
Your worry will not help a bit, 

Or keep away a shell. 

For the soldier's life is a careless life ; 

We pass our troubles by ; ' 
We smile beneath our crabs and kicks. 
And grin at aU the Boche's tricks. 

And let the minutes fly. 

The Soldier's Creed 

So don't bring us your arguments, 
And tell us who 's to blame ; 

If we 're in war, why, we 're in war ; 

We don't care what we 're fighting for, 
We 're here to play the game. 

So bring on smokes, and bottles old, 

And fill the wine-cups up ; 
For we should worry what 's to come ; 
As long as we can get our rum. 

Forget old Bertha Krupp ! 

So don't tell us our chance of death ; 

We 'U keep our eye on life ; 
But come and have a smile with us, 
And josh and joke awhile with us — 

And let 's forget the strife. 


Time was when I honestly longed for the day 

That we 'd go to the front for some action. 
I was then a recruit — a poor simple galoot — 

And was ripe for a row or a ruction. 
But now — well, it 's different ; I 've had quite enough 

Of this damnable war of perdition ; 
I don't faU no more for this patriot stuff — 

All I want is to go on permission ! 

At first I was keen to be risking my life — 

To go over the top and attack : 
I was n't dismayed at the thought of a raid 

When the most of us wouldn't come back ; 
But now, when they call for a few volunteers 

To go out on a bomb expedition. 
The others respond, while I join in the cheers — 

For the time 's getting near to permission ! 

It was not long ago that I used to have hopes 

That I 'd get a promotion and such ; 
But six weeks of trenches, their filth and their stenches, 

Ain't made me repine for it much. 



Ambition sinks low in the face of war's taunts ; 

Get away with your lousy commission ! — 
There 's only one thing that a soldier man wants : 

Let me get out of here — on permission ! 


You may tack on fuss and feathers 

And plumes and golden braid, 
Or choose a gorgeous uniform, 

As striking as is made ; 
Dress your soldiers as you like. 

But still it will be true. 
You '11 have to take your hat ofip 

To the Overcoats of Blue ! 

Oh, the Overcoats of Blue ! The Overcoats of Blue I 
They 're soldiers of the finest, are the Overcoats of Blue I 

You may take your men in khaki, 

Your men in brown and grey, 
They 're first-class fighting soldiers — 

They '11 prove it any day ! 
We '11 honor every one of them 

For all that they've been through, 
But you '11 have to give the laurels 

To the Overcoats of Blue ! 

Oh, the Overcoats of Blue ! The Overcoats of Blue ! 
They 're the finest fighting soldiers, are the Overcoats of 


Overcoats of Blue 

When this war is done and finished, 

We '11 have a grand parade, ■ 

And to all the Allied soldiers 

Will honor due be paid ; 
But you '11 see, in all their glory. 

At the head of the review. 
Just the ordinary poilus — 

The Overcoats of Blue ! 

The Overcoats of Blue ! The Overcoats of Blue ! 
They will march before the finest, will the Overcoats of 


Why do we figlit, we from a distant shore, 

Removed, contained, scarce touched by all the strife, 

Far from the thunders of a foreign war. 

Who might in peace have followed all our life ? 

Our debt to France ? — incurred in times of old, 

Graced by the workings of a despot king? — 

Rochambeau, Lafayette, we oft are told ; 

Our bell of freedom which they helped to ring — 

No, none of these ; forget the ancient score ; 

A greater thing : — for France to-day, we fight ; 

Our living debt to France is even more ; 

Her struggling battle is our cause of right. 

For fine-souled France, a star too bright to go, 

We come to battle back the tyrant foe ! 



Perhaps, if you 've read these effusions, 

And found them imprudently packed 
With a lot of irreverent allusions 

Surprisingly wanting in tact, 
You '11 think we are blind to all virtues, — 

Just cynics a-warming the bench, — 
But before it 's too late, let us hasten to state — 

Thank God, we 've been with the French ! 

As soldiers, it 's only verbose to repeat 

Their praise in these doggerel tunes ; 
The ace among nations we 'd hail, were it meet, 

From a couple of bum buffoons ; 
Their manners, their ways of expressing themselves. 

Their courage which nothing can quench — 
The humanest lot that were ever begot — 

Thank God, we are with the French ! 

America's long preparations are done 

And her aid is beginning to count, 
And because of her efforts the war will be won 

Or to that it is going to amount. 


Over There 

But in spite of our power, resources, and wealth, 
When it comes to the last final wrench, 

The victorious Yanks, from command to the ranks, 
Will thank God they 're with the French ! 


We have written our joys and our sorrows, 

And our jests that have passed off the time ; 
We have given no care for to-morrows, 

Nor bothered with thoughts in our rhyme ; 
We 've sung as we Ve talked in the barracks, 

And at poste 'round the grey ambulance, 
But back of the chaff, and the jest, and the gaff 

Is the feeling we have — for France ! 

Oh, we most of us came for the reason 

Of adventure or playing the game. 
Or of doing our duty in season. 

Or of leaving a life that was tame ; 
But we Ve done that, and now we Ve new reason, 

Artillery, tanks, ambulance — 
If they 'd let us go 'way, we would most of us stay 

And stand by the battle — for France ! 

Oh, it is n't in words that we show it, — 
They 're too feeble to tell what we feel ; 

It 's down in our hearts that we know it, 
It 's down in our souls that it 's real. 


Over There 

So we stick to our work as we find it, 
And forget the caprices of Chance, 

For we know that the price of the big sacrifice 
Is little enough — for France I 



Abri — Any kind of a shelter, ranging from a small piece 
of galvanized iron to a forty-foot dug-out, and endowed 
with the mythical quality of impenetrability as regards 
German shells. Consequently an abri is n't so much a 
bodily protection as a mental refuge. Abris thus are usu- 
ally pervaded with an air of security, but with none of 
any other sort. 

Allez — allezing — To go, to get out, or, in the imperative, 
to beat it. 

Barrage — A curtain of fire in front of advancing troops 
to prevent the enemy from getting out of his trenches 
into the open, and to persuade him to get into his abri, 
where he can be conveniently bombed out and made 
prisoner. Regarded as one of the nuisances of war by 
ambulance-drivers and staff oflScers, whom it frequently 
disturbs at all hours of the night. 

Beaucoup — bon — Much, many — good. The major and 
most necessary part of an American's French vocabulary. 

BlessS — One who is wounded. The species come in two 
varieties — the stretcher cases, and those who are able 
to sit up in the ambulance. 

Brancardier — A French stretcher-bearer, usually of the 
older classes. The principal character around a Poste de 
Secours. Too much cannot be said for the bravery and 
the untiring work of these men. 

Briquet — A cigarette-lighter. A piece of war hardware, 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

used as a substitute for matches, an office which it ably 
fulfils, refusing to light with mechanical regularity. 
There are two kinds, the fuse briquet, and the essence, or 
gasoline, briquet. The fuse briquet consists of a flint and 
a yard or two of yellow cord, which serves principally 
to ignite the pocket when not properly extinguished. 
The essence briquet is manufactured from cartridges, 
shell-cases, and other forms of munitions, and is usually 
decorated with Boche buttons and coins, or else figures 
in the nude. It contains anywhere from two drops to 
five litres of essence, according to the audacity of the 
poilu who bums it from the motor-car driver. Its chief 
value is keeping the poilus occupied and out of mischief. 
To keep a briquet in repair would require the services of 
two mechanics, a filling station, a machine shop, and 
any number of interested spectators. The briquet is not 
good for anything, and therefore makes an excellent 
souvenir. It is to the rapid sale of briquets that the 
value of the franc on the exchange markets owes its 
sudden rise. 
Buvette — A bar, a small cafe in a village, a drinking estab- 
lishment. Anywhere where a French Madame can store 
a barrel of pinard and a couple of glasses. The parent 
of the saloon and the country cousin of the swell cafe; 
but, like most other people, it does n't pattern much 
on its relatives. For legal purposes the buvette in the 
war zone is closed during the greater part of the day, but 
for practical purposes one might as well command the 
war to stop. To enter a buvette during forbidden hours, 
one does not necessarily have to speak French. The 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

international signal of the low whistle through the key- 
hole will do the work. 

Camion — camionette — Motor trucks used for the trans- 
portation of troops and war materials. They are par- 
ticularly used to obstruct all other traffic on the roads, 
especially staff cars and ambulances. A camion train 
en route resembles a dust storm on the Sahara. The 
camionette is merely a lighter and less objectionable 
species of the brute. The only camion that an ambulance 
man can tolerate is the one that brings the mail. 

Camouflage — In American newspapers camouflage is sup- 
posed to be an intricate and vast system of conceal- 
ment of the works of war from the enemy. In reality it 
is more usually a few hunks of burlap and leaves hung 
up over some place like a gun location or a munitions 
dump — thus making it easily distinguishable from the 
surrounding terrain when viewed by enemy aviators. 
Wagons and cannon and camions are also camouflaged 
by alternate splotches of green and brown paint — mak- 
ing them objects of curiosity for miles around. The last 
place for a real artist is in the camouflage department. 
What is needed is a good cubist or futurist, or, for the 
finest and most delicate work, a house painter. Camou- 
flage is much less effective and extensive than reputed, 
and its chief utility has been as a subject for literary and 
imaginary flights by ambitious writers and newspaper 
men — at so much per flight. 

Capout — Dead, finished, done for, out of the running. 
A word of German origin, the original meaning of which 
was "to decapitate" or to cut the throat, but which has 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

since been expanded as a slang expression to include 
anything which is destroyed, or any one who is finished 
off. The word has since been adopted by the French. 
If you ask a German prisoner if he is contented to be 
taken, he invariably replies, *'Ja, nix capout." There 
is not much sentimentality about death at the front, 
and the one simple word capout takes the place of the 
flowers and the weeping, the eulogistic sermon, and the 
elegy. Capout is the universal epitaph of the French 
soldier, although the authorities sometimes paint "Mort 
pour la France " on the croix de hois. Capout ! Sometimes 
he is permitted to rest in peace with this simple bene- 
diction, but often he is further molested by the placing 
of a galvanized iron wreath on the grave. "The paths 
of glory lead to wreaths of tin!" 

Cest qa — "That's it." " That's right." 

C^est la guerre — "It's the war." The poilu's customary 
explanation of his discomforts, and Madame's customary 
explanation for her overcharges. 

Champagne — What prevented the Germans from reaching 
Paris in 1914. This is why the Germans call it "The 
Bottle of the Marne." Why poets eulogize France, and 
why American prohibitionists are pacifists. 

Citation — Commendatory recommendation in orders peri- 
odically passed out by Headquarters for the encourage- 
ment of the soldiers. At the front a Citation is only 
looked at so-so, but through a genial conspiracy of si- 
lence those at home are left to draw their own grandilo- 
quent conclusions. 

Communique — The daily official bulletins issued by Head- 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

quarters by which the actual progress of the war is 
concealed, and by which the general public can be let 
down easily to a big defeat, and overwhelmingly elated 
by a small success. The Boches are past-masters at the 
handling of communiques. 

Comprend — To understand. The most useful phrase for 
an American in difficulty. Most often, in such cases, 
used in the negative, Comprends pas. 

Convoy — When en route in going from place to place, 
ambulance and camion sections travel together in groups, 
usually of twenty. This is called a "convoy." 

Defense — Forbidden; something legally forbidden (but 
which in practice is usually overlooked). The proper 
come-back on being told that a thing is ^* defense'' is 
*'Qa nefait rien'' (That does n't matter, That does n*t 
make any difference!) The Frenchman thinks that 
German stupidity is best exhibited by the fact that when 
he sees a sign forbidding him to do anything, he has n't 
the imagination to disobey it. Nearly everything in 
France is "Defense"; but in practice little or nothing is 
denied or forbidden — especially to the poilu. 

iRclat — An explosion; the bursting of a shell; also ap- 
plied to the fragments of a shell, which are called "the 

Embusque — Slacker, loafer, or, as the French say, one 
who is hiding himself in the bushes. Every one in the 
war zone thinks every one else is really an embusque, 
and is convinced that his own work is the most difficult 
and dangerous. B. C. Wohlford's poem "The Slacker" 
aptly sums up the situation : 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 


Says the man engaged in business 
To the man who haunts his dub, 
"Oh, you slacker, start producing. 
Whip the Kaiser, and his sub." 

While the army clerk in Paris 

Adding figures in a chair, 
Types his friends, " Come, don't be slackers; 

Go enlist; get over there." 

And his former conu-ade grumbles 
As he steers his ambulance, 
"Yellow slacker, back in Paris, 
He's the softest job in France." 

Then his car rolls by some cannon. 
And the gunners all remark, 
"W^hat a smug contented slacker! 
Why, his job is just a lark! " 

And the dirty, frozen poilu 

Slowly plodding from his trench, 
Grunts, "Artillery, — oh, what slackers. 

Far from mud, grenades, and stench! " 

While the stalwart shock divisions 

Coming forward to attack 
Sneer, "The ordinary poilus. 

It's a shame the way they slack." 

But the curse goes even further. 

For the crews that man the tanks 
Say, "Compared with us what slackers 

Are the men who fill the ranks! " 

So, although you 're quite heroic 

And your deeds are far from tame. 
Don't be boastful, just remember 

You 're a slacker all the same. 


From The American Field Service Bulletin 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

Gendarme — A French military policeman; it is his duty to 
direct traffic and see to the enforcement of the military 

Infirmiers — Internes in the military hospitals who take 
charge of the wounded. It is their particular duty to 
enter into controversies with ambulance-drivers over 
the blesses tag, and the permitted number of stretchers 
and blankets. 

Kan the Kaiser — War slogan of American troops who 
have so far not been under the fire of His Majesty's 
" Busy Berthas." The Kaiser is as yet reported to be 
at large. 

La belle musique — "The beautiful music." French ironic 
phrase applied to an artillery bombardment. 

M. P.'5. — U. S. Military Police — not "Members of Par- 
liament." Their duty is to make things as disagreeable 
as possible for the private. 

Madame — The title universally given to the hard-work- 
ing, middle-aged French woman who runs the buvette 
and takes care of the farm and farmhouse while her 
husband is at the front. 

Marmite — French slang for a large high-explosive shell. 
Literal meaning, "bucket" or "saucepan." 

Mort — "Dead," one who is dead. 

Nuage — "Cloud"; used in this volume for purposes of 

Obus — French slang for any kind of a shell. 

Pacifist — One who is a conscientious objector to bearing 
arms, but who has no objections whatever against having 
others bear arms for him. 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

Pas bonne la guerre — "The war's no good" — or what 
Sherman said translated into French; a password among 
poilus anywhere. 

Permission — Leave of absence, supposed to be seven 
days every four months. What the soldier lives for. It 
used to mean Paris and civilization, but lately it has 
been changed to Aix-les-Bains and surveillance by the 
Y. M. C. A. The soldier no longer has any more reason 
to live. Besides — permissions are usually suppressed 
about the time they fall due. 

Pinard — Technically known as ^*vin rouge ordinaire y** 
ordinary red wine. It is one of the main products of 
ravitaillement **Pas de pinard, pas de soldaV^ (no wine, 
no soldier), says the poilu. 

Poilu — Why Germany has n't won the war. 

Poste de Secours — Dressing, or clearing, station near the 
trenches where the blesses are brought to be sent down 
by ambulance to the hospital. 

Ravitaillement — The process of bringing up food and sup- 
plies to the troops in the trenches. Most of the sup- 
plies are carried up to within three miles of the trenches 
by motor trucks and large wagons, and from there they 
are taken up in dispersed quantities by hand and by 
small carts to the men in the trenches. All the work 
is done at night without lights. To have ravitaillement 
trains on the road ahead of him is the bane of the am- 
bulance-driver's life. 

Route gardee — A military road of main importance. It is 
under the traffic guard of the none too strict gendarme. 
Camion trains going on it are forbidden to pass one 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

another (or to "doubler'*), and the speed limit is pre- 
scribed but never enforced. 

Rue Raynouard — The old American Field Service Head- 
quarters in Paris. 

Sausage balloons — Observation balloons which are put up 
four or five miles behind the lines in order to spot shots 
for the artillery and generally observe what the enemy 
is doing behind his lines. They afford great amusement 
to the poilus, who turn out in a gay mood for miles 
around, to see one of them brought down in flames by 
an enemy aviator. It is very spectacular, although the 
observers, who jump out in parachutes at the approach 
of the enemy machine, are seldom injured. However, it 
is a rather expensive form of amusement, and the only 
regret of the miUtary authorities is that they have no 
way of charging the poilus an admission fee. 

Soixante-quinze — The famous French 75-millimetre can- 
non; the principal cause of the German defeats at the 
Marne and elsewhere. There are two things the poilu 
swears by — his pinard and the soixante-quinze, 

Spad — The French plane de chasse, or fighting plane, by 
far the best and swiftest on the front, and certainly the 
most graceful when in flight. 

** System Z) " — French slang expression for the taking of 
trivial articles which are supposed (by the one who takes 
them, at least) to be of more use to him than to the 
owner. "System D" also implies that the one taking 
such articles must be clever enough not to get caught at 
it — which he usually is. The term is also applied to 
any on-the-quiet method of acquiring anything for- 


Compendium of Foreign Phrases 

bidden. It is at the same time a justification and an 
epitaph for all petty irregularities. 

Teton — The name of a mount, which is really only a good- 
sized hill, southeast of Rheims, in the Champagne dis- 

Voiture — The French appellation for any article which 
moves on wheels. A wagon, a camioriy a staff car, a 
taxicab, an ambulance — all go under the name of voi- 
ture. After a few months at the front the ambulance 
man thinks of his ambulance only as voiture. His 
voiture is his home, and, like most homes, the source of 
most of his worries. Commonly shortened into "voit.'' 

U . S . A 

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